Mesothelioma Awareness Day is an annual event that takes place on September 26th. It has been marked ever since 2004, when a group of mesothelioma advocates and volunteers decided to raise awareness of the fatal disease, and every year the celebration and activities surrounding the event have been more successful, have raised more money and have attracted more participants then the previous year. The event was officially recognized by Congress in 2009 in a bill sponsored by Representative Patty Murray from Washington State.
The annual event is promoted heavily on blogs, through press releases issued by the various asbestos awareness and mesothelioma foundations and advocacy groups, and is even covered each year by The Today Show on NBC in New York City, where supporters gather in Rockefeller Plaza, holding up signs and wearing matching tee shirts to make sure that they get plenty of attention.
If you would like to celebrate Mesothelioma Awareness Day in your area, there are a number of different ways that can be done. Volunteers can ask for their city or state to make Mesothelioma Awareness Day an officially recognized event in the same way that the federal government has – most of these successful efforts begin by contacting your state’s Governor’s office. Once the administrative staff has heard your request for this awareness-raising activity, they will usually provide you with information as to what steps need to be taken.
Many people support the event by holding local fundraisers. These can range from bake sales and beauty pageants to 5K races and fun runs or local fairs. Contacting the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation will not only provide you with valuable advice on how to maximize your efforts, but will also help you publicize your event. Contacting your local media outlets is very important – it’s how the word gets spread, not only to help with your fundraising but to let those who are at risk know about the disease and what to watch out for. Most news and radio stations will provide free coverage.
Grassroots efforts like this have been extremely successful in the past. So far, ten states and 34 cities have created their own Mesothelioma Awareness Day. Mesothelioma volunteers have ordered custom license plates designed to bring attention to the disease and the need for funding and a cure, and tens of thousands of dollars have been raised through the sales of tee shirts and advocacy bracelets.